Yep, I have quit. Gone are the days when I used to mock people and friends with the age old adage “Quitters never win,” when they would call me out about my non-stop puffing. I quit almost 2 months ago. I didn’t think I could go on this long, but I did.
Here’s the “How?”
It wasn’t an abrupt quitting. It wasn’t easy. It was not cold-turkey. I tried quitting cold turkey a few years ago. It did not work out so well. Every time I saw a friend of mine smoke, I wanted to grab their head and suck the smoke out of their body. So yeah, no cold turkey this time.
I started smoking less to begin with. That in itself was a feat. Isipin nyo naman, ako sa aming magpipinsan ang halang ang loob na unang nagyosi sa harap ng mga parents at titos at titas. Wala talaga akong pinipili. Well, ang rason ko naman nun eh, juice ko lerd… trenta na ako…at parang naman hindi nila alam di ba? Ako din yun officemate na nagyoyosi break bago pumasok sa office, bago mag lunch, after lunch, during merienda and before going home. Mapirmi lang ako more than 5 minutes sa isang lugar, like waiting for a cab I would already be lighting up. And I smoked in the car. You get the picture.
The number of sticks a day went down to 10, then went down to 7, then went down to 5. It was always a conscious choice. Until one day, nung hinatak ako magyosi ng office friends, hinawakan ko na lang yun stick. That whole process of shaving down the sticks took about 2 months in itself. It was a journey, or maybe an ordeal for an addict like me.
When I had stopped for a week (absolutely no smoking, not even touching), I started getting sick. It was tough. I even woke up one morning convulsing. CJ did not know what was going on or what to do. I had cold sweats. It was a few days after that when I realized just how deep in it I was. It was withdrawal, it and it was shitty.
I started smoking when I was 18 years old, when I went to college. I remember hearing about one study that says if you never start smoking before you’re 19, you will never get the habit. Ha! I beat it by a year.
And now, the “Why?”
I can’t really point to one overarching reason.
Health is definitely one. Actually, it was more of my lack of strength. I had gone to this weekend day hike with some friends one weekend. It was not that steep. I was the youngest in the group by about 10 or so years, but these people were kicking my ass going up this hill. FUCK. I had to stop several times. At some point sinabihan ko na si CJ na iwan na nya ako at balikan na lang sa gitna ng trail. Sabi ko hahanap na lang ako ng kabayo na marerentahan — but in truth I just wanted to die. He would not leave me of course. And kept encouraging me and telling me that I can do it. I did it… eventually. I attributed part of my failure to steadily climb to my obviously damaged lungs, and of course my lack of regular exercise. But I couldn’t properly exercise if my lungs will give way all the time. So therefore, I had to take care of my lungs.
Another was yosi breath. I was just bad. I would not kiss myself if I had to. Anyone who has ever kissed a smoker knows what that tastes like.
My skin was aging. And although alam kong hindi pang commercial model o artista ang fez ko, I still didn’t want to look tired and lack luster and old at 34. And I don’t know how to photoshop, so my only bet is to actually look bright and radiant in photographs. That wasn’t going to happen with nicotine riding through my veins.
I just didn’t think it was cool anymore. Any kind of addiction I think is actually off-putting. It was an addiction. There is no other way to put it. And addiction is a sickness, and fortunately there’s a cure. Thank goodness I chose to take it and ride through the withdrawal.
Food just didn’t taste as good. Ok, so nakakpayat for me magyosi, primarily because wala akong pang lasa. Pero naman, hindi ko naeenjoy yun masasarap na inoorder sa restaurant or niluluto for me. And plus, yun pagkapayat ko sa yosi yun payat na mukhang nalanta. So, nevermind.
So far so good. Haven’t gotten the urge to pick up a cigarette. I feel lighter and more awake. My skin is clearing up — yun blemishes ko mostly dahil nakakakalimot ako mag alis ng make-up sa gabi (also a bad habit). I am thoroughly enjoying exercising. And most of all, I know I beat a sickness, which could have possibly led to more dire complications, like the big C.
I am not advocating for people who smoke to quit. Just wanted to share what I went through. My theory is that unless you really want to, nobody can make you do it.
Have an awesome day!